GUWAHATI, Sept 19 - As a step towards fulfilling a long-standing demand of the people of Assam and the north-eastern region, the Northeast Frontier Railway Construction Organisation has completed the detailed project report (DPR) for a second rail-cum-road bridge at Saraighat over the River Brahmaputra.
The DPR, which puts the project cost of the 1.3 km bridge at Rs 1,126.67 crore, has been sent to the Railway Board for approval.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, Senior Public Relations Officer (SPRO) of NFR (Construction) SK Ojah said that the new bridge, once completed, will eliminate the bottleneck at Saraighat which has come about due to the high capacity utilisation of the existing single-line railway bridge.
The proposed new bridge will have two railway tracks at lower deck, besides provision for a 9.5-metre wide road and 1.2-metre wide footpaths at the upper deck. It will be located at a distance of around 120 metres upstream (towards Guwahati side) from the existing rail-cum-road bridge.
It is part of the project of doubling of the existing single-track broad gauge line from Agyathuri to Kamakhya (of 7.06 km length). The project had been sanctioned in 2017-18.
At present, there are two bridges over the Brahmaputra at Saraighat. One of these is the existing rail-cum-road bridge which was commissioned in the early 1960s. This originally had provision for a two-line metre gauge railway track, which was later converted to single-line broad gauge track when gauge conversion work was undertaken, at the lower deck and a two-lane road at upper deck.
Besides, one road bridge with three-lane provision was commissioned on the downstream side from the rail-cum-road bridge by NHAI in 2017.
�Railway traffic from Guwahati (via Rangiya) passes through the existing rail-cum-road bridge. It is an important route which connects the north-eastern region with the rest of the country. However, the line capacity utilisation of the Kamakhya-Rangiya section is 167 per cent. Considering this, the doubling of New Bongaigaon-Rangiya-Agyathuri section was sanctioned in 2016-17. Besides, electrification of the New Bongaigaon-Guwahati section has also been sanctioned and physical work is already going on. However, double-line benefit of this section cannot be achieved until and unless the present bottleneck at Saraighat is eliminated,� said Ojah.
The single-line section from New Bongaigaon to Kamakhya (via Rangiya) is the most utilised section in this region.
�Traffic volume has increased steadily over the last few years and has already attained the level of saturation. Therefore, the need for augmentation of line capacity for the same has been felt for quite some time. So, the project of doubling of the existing broad gauge line from Agyathuri to Kamakhya, including the second rail-cum-road bridge at Saraighat over the Brahmaputra, will remove the bottleneck,� said the railway official.
Besides the estimated cost of Rs 1,126.67 crore for the main bridge, an additional cost of viaduct for connecting both the road approach and road deck slab has been fixed at Rs 238.61 crore.
�So, the total rail-cum-road bridge will cost Rs 1,365.28 crore. However, the State government will bear the Rs 238.61 crore for the approach road and road deck slab,� said Ojah.
Provision for power supply has been contemplated on the bridge. All the overhead electrical crossings on it will be modified as per revised regulations.
�It has been decided to have the overall length of the proposed new bridge same as the existing one (i.e. 1.3 km), with the same span configuration. The proposed alignment will run parallel to the existing broad gauge line from Agyathuri and will terminate at Kamakhya. For safety of foundation and sub-structures of both the existing bridges, it is planned to fix centre-line of the new proposed bridge at a distance of 120 metres on the upstream side of the existing single-line rail-cum-road bridge,� said the NFR (Construction) official.